The Shaky Scribe

I take a look at myself, a left-handed person with sweaty palms and shaky hands, and the calligraphy nibs and brush pens. If I were to judge my ability based on my existing situation, it would be have been an ill-suited hobby. Fortunately, I did not judge. 😀 I am a judger by nature so I am always working to overcome the tendency to do so.

At the outset, it’s quite daunting. You need concentration (not the chief quality of someone with my illness), a steady hand, and full muscle control on the fingers to sustain the upstrokes and downstrokes of calligraphy as a hobby or as a sideline or as a way of life.

But it found me.


I previously toyed with the idea in my head but never got around to dragging my butt out to attend a workshop or actually do something about it.

By chance, I went to this really nice resort (Aquaria Waterpark in Calatagan, Batangas) for a writing assignment some weeks back and they had basic brush calligraphy lessons in the event.

I gave it a try despite my condition, in spite of the voices in my head telling me that it’s not exactly a good fit for me. I am happy I took that risk on that day.

Some random dude even laughed at my drills because it was shaky. I almost wanted to give up on the brush at the time but why would I waste an opportunity to learn something new just because he decided I was not doing so well on it? If there’s anything I have learned this year, it’s this: it’s not going to taint my humanity one bit if I fail. It’s okay. It’s part of being human. It’s part of improving over time.

It was an involuntary shake; my hands are already suffering from medical side effects so drawing a straight upward line with just the right amount of thickness is a Herculean challenge. I took solace in the downward strokes and crawled through the others. Somehow, I managed to make it.

It was a very trifling thing but it made me so happy and I started to practice daily since then. 🙂

I think the calligraphy thing became more than just a thing as the days went on. It’s not yet poster or invitation scrawl quality. And honestly, I am not even after that.

It’s something I can do without my hands on the laptop keyboard and eyes on the computer screen, for a change. I usually do things for clients and it gets tiring to keep looking at this screen, pleasant as it may be 70% of the time.

It’s still refreshing to write on a piece of paper, whether it’s an essay, a diary entry, or a couple of words in swirly font. Nothing beats the thrill of that.

Also, I guess calligraphy represented something more than ink being placed on paper. It represented a defiance of the gravity that beckons me to just passively remain put or stagnated. I have witnessed a person stagnate before. Whenever I am inclined to feel lazy, I just think of her and I am prompted to keep moving. It represented the hard accomplishments wrought in silence and in pain. It represented beauty, the elusive and simple type. It represented a lot of inner battles fought with the echoing scars that only a selected few will ever see.

Most of all, it represented the present moment, because you cannot even create a basic curve or simple straight line without focusing on what is, momentarily flushing out the pains of what was and the anxieties of what will be. 

I bought new colors for brush pens at a local bookstore 15 minutes from home a few days after the workshop in Calatagan. A week later, I met with a friend and she gave me a complete set of nibs. She tried before and it was just collecting dust in her house for two years. She decided to give it to me. It meant a lot when she did. It signaled to me that I can actually continue this hobby and no one can tell me what I can’t do. That I am my worst enemy.

The stage is set. Left-handed, shaky-handed me is really doing this for a new hobby. Apart from this new discovery, I am doing things now that I never imagined I’d be able to do before.

I had to close some doors. At first, I wept for what I lost. But so many more doors opened up to replace what I decided to let go. And it kind of fell into place. It made sense why things had to happen the way they did. It made sense and I knew I was back on track and I am everyday grateful for that.

Empowering. And as such, I went on to sign up for other things this week: a body training regimen, a few MOOCs, and meetups for cutting edge topics that deeply interest me. 

I rarely wrote in this blog for 2015. But this is the year that really nailed it as far as a deeper knowledge of myself and a higher level of improvement is concerned. This is the zero bullshit year where I got to know myself and engaged in new and better ways of looking at the world. The ground was never steady. It kept shaking, just like my left hand when I try to imitate the calligraphy exemplar. But I was able to draw lines where they are required. I was able to create. For that, I am massively grateful.

I fought for the precious minutes I am typing this down. Possibly, the next post will be next month/year. This blog is scattered with all thoughts, dingy in the older pages, and introspective in the recent ones. Even so, it’s still here. I am still here.

And just as I have fought for the time to write here albeit intermittently, I will find time to continue being the shaky scribe that meditates quietly in her cave with scrawls manufactured from a tapestry of thoughts, brush pens, and nibs dipped on ink.